Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 6:47 am

Nothin’ but bones

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:47 am

Speaking of Lisa Scheer, as I was in my previous post, I’m not going out and capturing great still lifes, if that’s the term. But I am taking the camera out more, and I’m trying to capture, if not still lifes, then still corpses, because what’s a great and energetic life without a corpse, especially when it’s being reanimated?

Example the first, the former Wachova building downtown, which is being converted into street-level shops with condos on the upper floors. Apparently, to convert this building in this way, you have to take out everything, and by “everything” I mean “all the skin, fat, fascia, organs, peritoneum, muscles, cartilage ligaments and whatnot out of your body, leaving only the fused bones, because that’s what they’ve done to the Wachovia, and, hey, I’ve got photographic evidence shot from the N&R parking lot”:

Wachovia building undergoing renovation

The Self-Help Building in the foreground appears to be attached but is not. This angle looks from the southwesteast with the equivalent of a 144mm zoom lens, and as you can see, there’s almost nothing on each floor but the floor itself. Anyone who has seen a tall building under construction has seen the top couple of floors look like this, but at the time this was taken, almost the whole building looked like this, which was striking to me.

From another angle:

Wachovia building, gutted

Here’s another angle, taken on the morning of 1/24/07 from the top of the hill at West Friendly and Aycock, looking east. Now you can REALLY see how stripped out the building is.

The finished project will be called Centre Pointe. I won’t be moving there. Great location, but looks WAY too drafty. :-)

The feline invasion continues …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:07 am

I’m in ur bucketz … being a drop …

I for one welcome our new feline overlords … if they’ll mop the porch.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 10:23 pm

Less talent required, but also less bandwidth

Filed under: Photos that got away — Lex @ 10:23 pm

I could try to take really good photos like Ed‘s wife, Lisa Scheer (and you need a separate post category for those, Ed), or Tony,  but that would take years and cost thousands, perhaps millions, of lives. So I’ve come up with a different, multi-pronged approach to total world media domination:

  • Write captions on other people’s photos.
  • Take my own, rather bad, photos.
  • Create a new post category called “Photos that got away,” in which I describe things I’ve seen that I’d like to have photographed but couldn’t (generally, but not always, because I didn’t have a camera with me; sometimes because I had a camera but was too inept to configure it so as to get the best available shot).

This post falls into the latter category, no-camera subcategory (and it wouldn’t have mattered; even with a camera I’d have had less than a second to recognize and react):

Just before 9 a.m. Monday. Eastbound on Friendly, stopped at Lindell light. Gray 2-door Honda turns L from Lindell onto westbound Friendly with a husky in the back seat. Said husky was hanging its head out the driver’s open window. I do not know whether huskys can smile, but if so, this one was having the time of its life.

Monday, January 29, 2007 11:12 pm

Another example of why my son probably isn’t cut out for a life of crime

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 11:12 pm

Me: Hooper, please wash your hands and come to dinner.

Hooper: OK, dude.

Me: Excuse me. We do not call grownups “dude.” We’ve talked about that before.

Hooper: I’m sorry. I just, uh … forgot your name.

C’mon, let’s blogwhore! You know you want to.

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 2:41 am

For the first time in many months, I went through the blogroll tonight, purged the Dead Blogs Rotting and added some blogs that, in most cases, I should have added a long time ago.

If I should have added yours and didn’t, please tell me, particularly if you’re local, although I retain all rights not to link to you because you’re site’s too commercial, because it undermines the local economy (no, Hooper, I will not link to the Mack Trucks site; Greensboro is a Volvo Trucks town), or its aesthetics are not sufficiently pleasing, or whatever.

Fluid mechanics

You can have two birthdays waiting for a glass of Diet Coke to fizz down (and I pour a lot of them for my wife, so I know). But a friend of my mother-in-law’s suggests this trick: Fill the glass with ice, then water. Hold the ice in the glass (or use a strainer, if you’re classy) while pouring out the water. THEN pour in the Diet Coke. Much faster fizzing. I vaguely remember something from high-school chemistry about why this should work, but it’s not coming back to me right now. The important thing is: It does work.

Cannonslinger

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 2:24 am

Fec Stench brings a gun to a knife fight at his place — and no li’l ol’ Colt Peacemaker, either. He brings the stuff they hang under Apache helicopters. David may have been the only one to get out alive, and that’s only because he left before the shooting started.

Oh, snap!*

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 2:20 am

Those Snap.com previews that would pop up when you scrolled over links in the posts here are now gone, for two reasons:

  1. They covered up chunks of text you were trying to read.
  2. They slowed the page loading time — significantly, in some cases.

If y’all want ‘em back, I’ll bring ‘em back. But based on what little comment I’ve gotten so far, I’m not holding my breath waiting for a groundswell of support.

*My daughter says this a lot. I hope it doesn’t mean anything objectionable. 

… except in the vocabulary region

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 12:54 am

Hooper, asked earlier tonight to clean up the den: “Yes, I can do it! Why? Because I’m strong and powderful!”

I guess he smells nice, at least.

Mock ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 12:52 am

This is either bad philosophy or bad humor. So, just to be safe, I had to mock it both ways. Thoroughness is the mark of a professional (although I sometimes indulge in it as well).

UPDATE: Looks like he spiked the comment. Oh, well.

Saturday, January 27, 2007 4:37 pm

Interrogatories

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 4:37 pm

In the past 24 hours, no fewer than three people have been drawn to this site after Googling me by name.

I’m happy to cut out the middleman. Ask me anything you want. G’head. I won’t bite. Really.

Friends v. real friends

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 1:36 pm

Friends express sympathy when you have surgery.

Real friends offer to bring down a bottle of Polish vodka with a sprig of buffalo grass in it.

Me: Thanks, but I can’t drink anything cuz of the drugs.

Fred: Well, you can just sniff it. It’s called aromatherapy.

Me: Say! I’ve heard of that! My liberal friends have mentioned it.

Fred: Well, there you go.

Me: I don’t think they said anything about vodka, though.

Fred: That’s because they’re not doing it right. Silly liberals.

* * *

Fred is a real friend. Even if I’m too groggy to take him up on his offer.

Thursday, January 25, 2007 10:34 pm

Random question No. 2

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 10:34 pm

Let’s suppose that you greatly enjoy the occasional glass of wine. Let’s further suppose that you learn that 24 hours from now, you must stop drinking and can never drink again. Maybe it’s health; maybe you’re about to be stranded on a desert island; whatever.

Assuming a single, standard 750-ml bottle and a maximum price of, say, $1,000, what bottle of wine would you most like to buy and drink before your 24 hours are up, and why?

(No, I’m not under this particular gun. [My 24 hours already have come and gone. {rim shot}] I just had a conversation with the N&R’s wine columnist recently that led to this question.) 

Random question

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 10:28 pm

Here in the tobacco country of north-central North Carolina, we have the thriving metropoloi of Welcome, Advance, Liberty and Climax, so why do we not have a town named Postcoital Cigarette?

(Question prompted by the always-funnier-than-I-am CW)

Things I probably won’t be trying this weekend

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 7:15 pm

How to isolate amniotic stem cells from the placenta, at home!

Faster rats

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 7:01 pm

The comment spammers grow more clever, and the identity thieves grow more brazen. A harmless but really annoying example of the latter came in the form of a comment left here today by someone posing as one of my best friends, an extremely well-spoken blogger.

His e-mail account having been under the weather recently, I had to go to his blog and alert him to the suspicious incident. I don’t know what was more suspicious:

1) The lack of any WHOIS info at ARIN for the IP address. (For you non-geeks, this is supposed to tell you where the comment originated from, even if the info isn’t any more specific than the fact that it was, say, a RoadRunner account.)

2) The fact that the commenter used “dude” as a noun of direct address and/or in any context other than that of faux ranching.

You still wanna know why I moderate comments?

UPDATE: It really was my friend, who confirms that the IP address is his and adds, “Hey, occasionally I am possessed by surfers.” I’d call a priest and get that looked at; sounds ugly.

Guilford College beatings

The wah-wah factor

One of the many reasons why the longer I blog, the less attractive blogging gets.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007 6:49 am

A problem with Wikipedia?

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:49 am

XKCD sees a problem with Wikipedia. Hmph. I don’t see no damn problem with Wikipedia ….

Ringtones on cellphone and roast sauteed kittens …. oh, wait.

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:28 am

Co-worker’s cellphone ringtone: “Favorite Things” (so textured it makes me laugh)

Co-worker: Soon, my entire ringtone library will be John Coltrane.* (She didn’t add, “MWAHAHAHAHAHA,” but she coulda.)

Me: You say that like it’s a bad thing.

Co-worker: (Friend) has been bugging me to download that Army hiphop thing. I’m like, NO.

*For those of y’all not from ’round here, Coltrane grew up in nearby High Point. We lurvs us some Coltrane; like O. Henry and Edward R. Murrow, he is in the Guilford County pantheon.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 5:43 pm

The foods of my heritage

Deliciosity and the foods of my heritage

Yes, I suck at this. But I will get better, while Nigella Lawson probably already has peaked. So to speak.

Monday, January 22, 2007 9:47 pm

Sweet Jane

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 9:47 pm

Ridin’ in a Stutz Bearcat, Jim/You know those were different times

– “Sweet Jane,” Lou Reed

My maternal grandmother, Jane Chaplin “Mom” Hay, turns 100 today.

After a visit a few years ago, I wrote this (from the archives, temporarily offline):

Two and a half years ago, not long after our son was born, we went to visit her at her nursing home. It was a warm day, and we sat outside in a little gazebo. She asked if she could hold my son, so I held him in her lap (she uses a wheelchair and has pretty much lost the use of her left arm). She didn’t really know me anymore and, of course, was seeing her new great-grandson for the first time, but she started singing, in a low but clear Charleston voice, the same song she had sung to me more than 40 years ago, and to my mother decades before that …

“Br’er Rabbit is a cunning thing
He rambles in the dark
Never knows what danger is
‘Til he hears ol’ Rover bark.
Big-eyed Br’er Rabbit boo, boy …
Big-eyed Brer Rabbit boo … “

It took my breath away. Thinking about it now still does. And if there’s any grace I’ll take away from her slow slide toward death, it’s watching this woman who was vigorous enough in her 80s to join bridesmaids 60 years her junior in dancing at my wedding spending one of the last warm afternoons of her life surrounded by loving family and carrying on a tradition that bridges generations.
Even now, there’s not much I can add to that, except that on our most recent visit, Hooper took one look at her, announced, “You look sick,” curled up in a chair and fell asleep.

Always the charmer. And yet he comes by it naturally, as illustrated by this fairly recent anecdote from the nursing home:

Jane: Do you know how to make shrimp and grits?

Nurse: Not every well, no, ma’am.

Jane (pausing, appraising the nurse): Well, then, you don’t know a damn thing.

Not exactly polite, but perhaps forgivable from a woman who doesn’t recognize even her closest family members much anymore. And if you live in South Carolina, well, perhaps you should know how to make shrimp and grits. It’s cheap (or was, in Charleston, back in the day) and the ratio of delicious to preparation effort approaches infinity.

She was one of the original Charleston flappers, so I imagine she did know her way around a Stutz Bearcat. She also was a stout Presbyterian. She raised a remarkable family — children and grandchildren who have served their communities and their country in a wide variety of ways. She’ll go join my grandfather and their ancestors at Johns Island Presbyterian Church near Charleston, no doubt sniffing at the McDonald’s past which one now has to drive to get there, when she’s damn good and ready and not one second sooner. These days that could be before sunrise, but it’s her call.

Sunday, January 21, 2007 9:39 pm

Perfect for an icy night …

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 9:39 pm

Hooper on the couch at his Uncle Frank’s

Hooper at his Uncle Frank’s, just hours before the freezing rain began …

Saturday, January 20, 2007 4:18 pm

Hangin’ out there where everyone can see him.

Filed under: Y'all go read this — Lex @ 4:18 pm

This might be a first.

Over at the legal blog Opinio Juris, which I’ve never read, there’s a new blogger joining the group: John Bellinger, head of the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser. (First post here.) I don’t know the guy from Adam, but so far as I know he is the highest-ranking federal government lawyer blogging out there under his own name, so it’ll be interesting to see how he does.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 11:02 pm

The first one comes with the uniform. The rest you have to earn.

Filed under: Hooper,Woohoo! — Lex @ 11:02 pm

Unarmed and Increasingly Dangerous

Hooper accepts congratulations from his tae kwon do instructor, Milady Richter, after winning his yellow belt earlier tonight.

He’s learning from the best (here), and we feel very lucky to have her teaching his class. Hooper is embarrassed to admit it, but he adores her, having recently paid her his highest compliment: He asked me if she could come and babysit.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 10:30 pm

Shadduparready and let the guest talk

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 10:30 pm

Having done a few radio shows, I know that managing a guest can be a bit touchy. You want them to talk in ways and on subjects that will entertain your audience. You don’t especially want them to take time to flog their new CD/movie/book because that’s what you’re supposed to do — quickly and succintly, but still — in the intro and outro to your guest segment. And if they’re from the public sector, you sure as hell don’t want them propagandizing on your show. Not only does the government not have any right to do that, it also will almost certainly put your audience to sleep, thereby causing your ratings to plunge to Great Rift depths, leading to your termination, the layoffs of your co-workers and the sale of your station to some fascist gasbag.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, per se. But a lot of talk-show hosts are so worried about those consequences that at the first sign of a wandering guest, they’ll herd the guest back much more brusquely than need be or, worse, not let them talk at all.

Not having listened to many such shows on radio or TV (or YouTube) the past few years, I can’t say what the state of the industry is.

But here is what I can say: At least one talk-show host — David Letterman, as it happens — was competent, professional, discerning and kind enough to let Peter O’Toole, who might be the world’s greatest surviving raconteur, tell a very funny story that lasted close to 11 minutes. Eleven minutes goes by pretty quickly to the host, but it’s a lifetime to the audience … unless it’s filled correctly. That, O’Toole can handle almost literally in his sleep, and Letterman — who, as he has aged, has become much more about his show than about himself — was smart enough to let him do it.

I celebrate that. But I want more.

I’ve got an idea for a movie, and were I wealthy I would use my own money to get the thing made. What’s the movie? David Letterman. Peter O’Toole. A good supply of ice water. Either two or three cameras. That’s it. They can go 1:20 or 2:30, whatever they’re comfortable with, and as far as I’m concerned, they don’t even have to decide until after the cameras are rolling. (I see this as taking place on a set with a lot of rich dark greens, not Letterman’s usual digs. But I can’t explain why, and in any event that’s not a deal-breaker.) Not only do I know it would be a hit in its own right, it would be a remarkable cultural gift to people old enough to remember O’Toole’s now-dead comrades and the ethos from which O’Toole sprang and to people not yet born who one day will be old enough to appreciate the humor that goes down not like a six of Busch or a bottle of Cold Duck or even peppered vodka shots, but like serial sips of the best single-malt scotches.

Excellent etiquette

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 10:25 pm

In which Litbrit receives a “personal” invitation from Donald Trump and gets medieval polite on him.

Time management

Filed under: Reality: It works — Lex @ 12:27 am

I subscribe to a number of journalism-related listservs. The dialogue is consistently helpful (I’m pleased to have been able to provide some of that help over the years) and, for an online venue, of genuinely high quality. Plus, there are occasional breakouts of geek jokes, which I’m fine with as long as they really are funny.

But this request for info came over today, and it sort of pulled me up short. I’m not going to identify the sender, because his identity is irrelevant to my larger point, which is that sometimes you can just tell that reporters are approaching a story within a frame they’ve either had handed to them because they lack the life experience to find one for themselves or one they once found for themselves but have not updated since. And if you’ve ever had children, and particularly if you’ve ever borne an unequal burden of duties related to those children (I haven’t, but I know people who have), you’re going to find this item the tiniest bit maddening:

I’m looking for advice. I’m trying to calculate how much free time the typical person working a 40 hour week has each day. This is for a story about overtime.

I’m allowing the following:
Sleep – 8 hours (don’t laugh)
Work – 8 hours (again, don’t laugh)
Commute – 40 minutes (20 each way)
Chores (like meal prep, etc.) – 2 hours
Which leaves for free time – 5.3 hours.

Does this sound reasonable?

Hmm. Gee. Does this sound reasonable? Um, NO?

Sleep: 8 hours (don’t laugh). OK, I won’t laugh, I’ll scoff, as in, oh, please: “Previous studies have indicated that the average adult needs eight to nine hours of sleep a night, but the typical American gets only seven and many get considerably less, without ever catching up.” (Also, apparently there is a perfectly sound physiological basis for saying that the sleep-deprived look like the walking dead. To scare yourself silly, read the whole page. My favorite passage was, ” … an accumulated sleep debt is potentially as detrimental to health as poor nutrition or a sedentary lifestyle. It may be as bad as smoking,” but I’m sure you’ll find one that speaks equally strongly to you.) There are a very few people who really can get by on substantially less sleep — a lot tend to be fairly elderly. But most of them, particularly the younger ones, are either kidding themselves, bipolar or both.

And that doesn’t even take in having kids. Let alone newborns.

Work: 8 hours (again, don’t laugh). I’m not laughing, I’m beating my head on my desk. Between 1969 and 1990, the number of hours worked annually by the average American increased by 163, according to Harvard economist Juliet Schor. That’s four additional weeks of work per year. And things have gotten much worse more recently; in the past 25 years, the average work week has increased from slightly over 40 hours per week to slightly over 50. For those of you doing the math at home along with me, that’s an additional work week per month, every month.

Now, in all fairness, a lot of people work that many hours because they enjoy it, and if that’s you, Godspeed. I did that for about the first 14 years of my newspaper career, ’til the kids came along, partly because there really was a rush in being so energized by a story that a midnight interview, or a 2 a.m. survey of a piece of property, or a 4 a.m. writing session because you’d tapped into a vein of thought that felt like lightning and smelled like victory wasn’t long hours, it was the last five yards before a touchdown, baby.

But a lot of people work those hours (even in first jobs alone) because they have to, because they need the money just to pay the bills or because their employer pretty much insists on it. Short version: You can’t assume an eight-hour workday anymore. More on this in a bit.

Commute: 40 minutes (20 each way): Eh. Could happen. My own commute is 10 minutes each way, and that’s the longest commute of my newspaper career. But in many, many metro areas, a 20-minute one-way commute is either a rumor or a dream. According to the Census Bureau, in 53 of the 68 largest American cities, the commute exceeded 20 minutes in 2003; according to radio rating service Arbitron, which uses massaged Census data, 220 of 286 cities in which radio stations use the service have average commutes in excess of 20 minutes. (Commuting time is a big deal in radio because the morning and afternoon rush hours tend to draw the largest and second largest number of listeners, respectively, at most stations on weekdays.)

In fairness, this isn’t a precise science — you can use Census Bureau decennial census data, the bureau’s American Community Survey data, other publicly available data sources and even some proprietary data to take a run at the question. But the bottom line is, the bulk of the largest cities/markets, which, by definition, contain the bulk of America’s population, report average commute times in excess of 20 minutes.

Chores (like meal prep, etc.) – 2 hours: Bwah! Who’s your maid, sonny? I’ve spent 2 hours just cleaning up the kitchen after a very casual meal involving my kids and some of their friends. (By “casual,” I mean, “None of the thrown food actually broke any windows.”) Sure, that’s not typical, but any time spent in “meal prep,” to say nothing of actually eating, is on top of that. (My breakfast is a cup of yogurt and some coffee while I check the paper to see what we did well or might have missed. My lunch is eaten at my desk almost every day, with at least some work being done during that period almost every day as well although I try to do a little recreational surfing as well.)

And that’s just meals. What about clothes? In a household of four with two young kids, guess how many loads of laundry you’ll do in a week. G’wan, guess. Bzzt. Wrong. You’re gonna need to take your shoes off to count that high. (And speaking of counting, if you’ve got your own washer and dryer, count your blessings. A lot of people don’t, which means commuting to the laundromat, sometimes on foot, with all that laundry — or, in some particularly poor and/or time-starved households, just sleeping without sheets, among other things. There’s some leisure time for ya.)

And don’t forget the life-threatening mold in the tub, shady-looking stuff around the base of the toilet, the trash cans that need emptying, the recycling that must be addressed. And did I mention the dusting and vacuuming? If I didn’t, I should have, given the 35 million Americans, 6 million of them kids, who are prone to dust/pollen allergies.

And that’s just the stuff you’ve got to do, or do a lot of, every day. That doesn’t even take into account routine home maintenance. That’s fairly time-consuming for anyone who can’t afford to just pay someone to do it all … and very time consuming if, as I did for nine years, you live in an older house. And let us not forget the yard/garden work, particularly since it looks as if, thanks to our friends in the extraction industries, we might be heading into a 12-month growing season.

Of course, if that happens, our plants, as loyal members of the economy, will have to grow 13 months in a 12-month year.

Which leaves for free time – 5.3 hours: A day? A DAY?!?

Ahem.

Pardon me.

* * *

OK, I’m back. I had to change clothes because I peed my pants and I had to take some Vicodin because I sprung at least two ribs from laughing.

Buddy, 5.3 hours per work week of free time would be looking damn good to me right now. I’ve had months where I didn’t get 5.3 hours of free time … and didn’t get anywhere near 8 hours’ sleep a night, either.

I could’ve gotten eight seven hours’ sleep tonight, except that this thing was itching at me so badly that I knew I wasn’t going to sleep until I blogged about it. (So I’ll probably end up with four or five hours instead of seven. I’ll suck it up, as if I have a choice. Somewhere along the line I picked up some prophetic DNA — and I don’t mean the nice, cuddly prophets like Isaiah and Micah, I mean the “Son, God is about to KICK. YOUR. ASS because you’re such a greedy sumbitch” prophets like Nahum, or Ezekiel on one of his Jules Winnfield days — and sometimes that gene just wants what it wants and won’t be denied.)

And I won’t kid you: This hasn’t been a chore. I’ve had some fun with this. Hell, if your industry is dying and you can’t laugh at it, what good are ya?

But this is where the laughs stop. This is where you listen up. This is where the prophetic DNA doesn’t just want what it wants, it gets what it wants … and frankly, I don’t always know what that’s going to be or how happy I’m going to be about it, so let’s all just buckle up.

* * *

I don’t have a second job. I’m fortunate enough not to need one and exhausted enough not to want one. As for overtime, it’s almost always voluntary at my employer.

But there are an awful lot of Americans who aren’t that fortunate. Many of them have pre-overtime or pre-second-job schedules that don’t look very much different from what I just laid out. For them, overtime or moonlighting is a financial imperative for survival. And who’s going to watch the kids, and where the money to pay that person is going to come from, are only the first two problems those folks are going to have to address.

I’m not asking you to do anything about it, mainly because I have no idea what to tell you to do.

I just want you to think about those folks a little bit as you pay your bills tonight.

And then? Sleep well. For at least eight hours, if you can. After all, anything less is unhealthy.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007 6:45 pm

So, so ready for the duck pit

Filed under: Geek-related issues — Lex @ 6:45 pm

The duck pit, if you’re not familiar with this bit of blogging shorthand, is the place where, come the revolution, the most deserving (by which I mean “the most annoying” under the current regime) will be consigned so that they may be pecked to death by ducks.

Examples? OK.

Barry Bonds? The duck pit. Telemarketers? The duck pit.

Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell? A two-course duck meal.

Televangelists? The duck pit … after being slathered in barbecue sauce.

Well, add to that list Microsoft’s coders.

I went to renew the antivirus software on the kids’ PC last night. Knew the process, had the credit card. Eight or so minutes, tops, right?

One hour and forty-two minutes. And not because of the AV software. Because of Windows updates.

All I wanted was to postpone any/all Windows updates until I’d gotten the AV software updated because the latter had totally slipped my mind and the subscription had therefore expired a while (ahem) ago.

Microsoft, however, deemed this request totally unreasonable.

There’s more, but that’s the gist.

So, PC users, we have exactly zero chance that the world’s duck population will starve to death anytime soon.

Come the revolution, of course.

Monday, January 15, 2007 8:29 pm

In which Lex ruins a perfectly nice photo and doesn’t even use a cat to do it.

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:29 pm

I’m in ur spotlightz … eatin ur archez.

(This’d be the Gateway Arch in St. Louis with a light glaze of ice, and this is a very nice photo even without the writing on it. Source: AP via Yahoo via WTF Is It Now?)

Public service …

… of the passive-aggressive variety, of course.

First, one thing about having former presidents (or, God forbid, current ones) die is that you get a good, long look at flags flying at half-staff. Thirty days, in fact.

And taking that good, long look, I have found that pretty much everyone who raises a flag has been victimized by perspective.

Not political perspective. Visual perspective. Distances that are close look longer than equal distances that are farther away. That’s why the stripes on the highway appear to get smaller the farther from you they are, even though they’re all the same size.

The result of this phenomenon is that almost every flag I’ve seen at half-staff since President Ford died has been at more like one-third staff. If you were raising the flag from across the street, the error would be obvious, but I’m not quite sure how that would work.

I realize the people charged with raising and lowering the flag at most civilian institutions probably don’t have time to run across the street and check the height of the flag before moving on to other duties. So perhaps those who manufacture flagpoles could include a discrete mark indicating where the top of the U.S. flag should be when it is flying at half-staff. It shouldn’t be hard; by definition the mark would be halfway up the pole.

Just sayin’.

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